The journey starts here. Now is the time to take global action for global results and to move our people and our planet towards a sustainable future. There is a more conscious way for businesses to operate and a more conscious way for investors to allocate capital.
In September 2015, all 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted a plan for achieving a better future for all – laying out a path over the next 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, tackle climate change and protect our planet. At the heart of “Agenda 2030” are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which clearly define the world we want – applying to all nations and leaving no one behind.
The new Global Goals result from a process that has been more inclusive than ever, with Governments involving business, civil society and citizens from the outset.
The Sustainable Development Goals provide a powerful aspiration for improving our world – laying out where we collectively need to go and how to get there. To learn how to make a difference, view the boxes below.
Goa1 1: 836 million people still live in extreme poverty
Goal 2: 1 in 9 people in the world are undernourished.
Goal 3: More than 6 million children still die before their fifth birthday each year
Goal 4: Enrollment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91%, but 57 million children remain out of school.
Goal 5: About two thirds of countries in the developing regions have achieved gender parity in primary education.
Goal 6: At least 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated.
Goal 7: 1 in 5 people still lack access to modern electricity.
Goal 8: Global unemployment increased from 170 million in 2007 to nearly 202 million in 2012, of which about 75 million are young women and men.
Goal 9: Basic infrastructure like roads, information and communication technologies, sanitation, electrical power and water remains scarce in many developing countries.
Goal 10: In developing countries, more than 75% of the population is living in societies where income is more unequally distributed today than it was in the 1990s.
Goal 11: By 2030, almost 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas.
Goal 12: Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced—equivalent to 1.3 billion tons worth around $1 trillion—ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices.
Goal 13: From 1880 to 2012, average global temperature increased by 0.85°C. To put this into perspective, for each 1 degree of temperature increase, grain yields decline by about 5%.
Goal 14: Over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.
Goal 15: 2.6 billion people depend directly on agriculture, but 52% of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation.
Goal 16: The rate of children leaving primary school in conflict-affected countries reached 50% in 2011, which amounts to 28.5 million children.
Goal 17: More than 4 billion people do not use the Internet, and 90% of them are from the developing world.
We are all in agreement on where the world needs to go. Fulfilling these ambitions will take an unprecedented effort by all sectors in society – and business has to play a very important role in the process.
The SDGs are a call to impact investors to get involved, and those who are early to do so may be rewarded.
Family Offices and Millennials are Allocating to Impact
Over the next twenty years, the world’s wealthiest are expected to transfer more than $30 trillion to their children and grandchildren.
93% of millennials believe that a company’s social and environmental impact is key to their investing decisions.
Social impact investing is on the rise. In 2017, investors plan to commit $25.9 billion in assets to impact investment deals, a 17% increase from the year before.
More than ever, the opportunity exists to attract investment capital by doing well and doing good.
According to the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, achieving the SDGs in just four key areas – food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being – could create at least $12 trillion, worth over 10% of today’s GDP. For the companies that are achieving the SDGs in these four economic systems, it could mean job creation for nearly 400 million people.
Responsible business and investment – rooted in universal principless – will be essential to achieving transformational change through the SDGs. For companies, successful implementation will strengthen the enabling environment for doing business and building markets around the world.
Businesses can also apply innovation and creativity to proactively provide solutions to poverty where they operate. Particularly through inclusive business models by developing innovative products and services to better serve communities affected by poverty, and leveraging the unique perspectives of the poor as consumers, employees, entrepreneurs.
The United Nations Global Impact is the World’s Largest Corporate Sustainability Initiative
Businesses are achieving greater good. UN Global Compact participants across industries are changing the way they operate to implement responsible practices and developing innovative solutions to address poverty and inequality, and support education, health and peace, to name just a few areas.
“The moment you discover in life that it’s not about yourself, that it is about investing in others, I think you’re entering a steadier state to be a great leader. Because above all, I think the main quality of a leader is to be a human being. There’s no reason you are special because you happen to have this job or these responsibilities.”
– Paul Polman
More than ever, we need business to be purposeful and pro-active in helping to ensure stability and drive social and economic transformation.
These Business and SDGs resources are curated with the help of our educational partner AIM2Flourish, the world’s first higher-education curriculum championing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
UN Sustainable Development Goals Introduction
Business and the SDGs
Engaging with the Private Sector
UN SDGs Progress Reports and Articles
UN SDGs App
SDGs and Cities
Some of the most exciting SDGs action is centered on cities and urban areas. Here are some resources to learn more:
Other SDGs Learning Resources
“We consider a ‘full potential’ scenario in which women participate in the economy identically to men and find that it would add up to $28 trillion, or 26 percent, to annual global GDP by 2025 compared with a business-as-usual scenario. This impact is roughly equivalent to the size of the combined Chinese and US economies today.”
– McKinsey Global Institute